New Year’s greetings from the President and General Secretary of APAY

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Last Updated (Monday, 25 January 2021 19:34)

Dear friends and colleagues,

We wish to bring you warm greetings of the New Year from APAY. We hope you have started 2021, with a fresh mind, healthy body and renewed spirit amid unabating pandemic in our region and beyond.

Though we continue to face multiple challenges – both personally and professionally, we will not lose hope that is promised by our God. We are called to stand firm on God’s promises and envision courageously “the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen.” (Heb 11:1) It is still uncertain what the ‘new normal’ would be ahead of us? Nevertheless, we are called to continue to read and reflect on the signs of our time and be awakened by the ‘wake-up call’ posed by the pandemic! In this regard, we would like to introduce you a Prayer in the form of a Poem written by a theologian titled: “At the edge of a New Normal”.

Our “normal ways” are reassuring to us:

It is our normal way to slot people for wealth and poverty;

It is our normal way to classify people as “us” and “other”;

It is our normal way to prefer males to the other gender;

It is our normal way to distinguish heteros and the “other.”


Our usual normal make us safe, make us happy, leave us certain.

Only now our normal ways are exposed as constructs of privilege

that cover over the reality of our neighborly situation.

In the midst of the virus, we notice that the others are very much

with us, and we are all vulnerable together.

We sense the disruption, the loss, the deep dis-ease among us,

and we want our old normal to be “great again.”


Except that we cannot!

Except that you summon us to new futures made sober by the pandemic;

You require us now to imagine, to risk, and be vulnerable

as we watch the new normal emerge among us:

the blind see, lepers are cleansed, the poor have good news;

students have debts canceled, the poor have health care,

workers have a living wage, the atmosphere breathes fresh air.

We want to return to the old normal that yield (for some) safety and

happiness. But you dispatch us otherwise.

Your new normal for us requires some adjustment by us.

And adjust we will. We will live and trust and share differently.

“All things new” is a huge stretch for us.

But we know it is your good gift to us; with wistfulness, we receive it

we embrace it, and we give thanks to you. Amen.

(from the book “Virus as a Summons to Faith: Biblical Reflections in a Time of Loss,

Grief, and Anxiety” by Dr. Walter Brueggemann)


We hope that this prayer will provide all of us with some food for thoughts and reflections as we begin the missional journey again together in this turbulent world. The holy journey towards more just, peaceful, and ecologically sustainable Oikoumene nourished by God’s love and compassion. As the prayer invites us, “let us encourage each other to live and trust and share differently from the old normal”. May God bless each one of you in a particular way!

Many of our members are preparing to celebrate the Lunar New Year. We wish you a happy, healthy and hopeful year of the Ox 2021!


Prof. Chen Chin-Seng Nam Boo Won
President General Secretary